In 1972, Alice Cooper’s classic song became an anthem for all school children looking forward to the lazy days of summer. We enjoyed the long, sunny days and made the most of them by staying outside from dawn till dusk. We rode our bikes everywhere, built forts from construction scraps and ran through the sprinkler to cool off. Those were the days when kids’ lives were a little more carefree.
Today, summers are more planned. Kids go to camp, attend pre-college summer programs, and participate in mission trips. They complete summer homework for AP classes, study for the SAT, play in summer athletic leagues, and volunteer in the community. In short, teens today have a lot going on…even in the summer. Sometimes, it’s even difficult to fit the family vacation in before school starts again.
The documentary Race to Nowhere addresses the issue of over-scheduled children, who aspire to be perfect college applicants. The movie features interviews with high achieving students who worry that their 4.0+ grade point averages and near perfect test scores aren’t enough to get them into the competitive colleges and universities they aspire to attend. Race to Nowhere appeals to parents and educators to reevaluate educational goals and methods, and consider how our expectations affect our children’s health.
The beginning of the summer is a great time to take a step back and think about past accomplishments and future goals. It’s also a perfect time to do a little studying, as well as a little playing. Balancing what you have to do, with what you want to do, is integral to maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
So students, school’s out for summer again, and your brains are full of possibilities about how you will spend the summer days ahead. Continue to focus on your goals but maximize your summer fun by getting involved in activities that are meaningful to you, not just resume builders for college. Remember, it’s not about being the perfect college applicant; it’s about being the kind of person you want to be.